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Thread: Dumb question for the beekeepers here

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Dumb question for the beekeepers here

    At a truckstop, while watching bees trying to figure out how to get into my trailer, a question came to my mind.
    Every year, bees are moved between California and the upper midwest. At every stop, many bees are left behind. What happens to the lost bees? Do they manage to be adopted into another hive, or are they just out of luck?
    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Out of luck. All the bees in a hive are related.unrelated bees are invaders, to be killed. The only exception is a queen in a hive with no queen. A new, unrelated queen will be killed on sight, unless they can't get to her. So you put her in a queen cage with a candy stopper, and the bees will attack the stopper, chewing it away for 3-5 days. By the time they get through the stopper, they've acclimated to her scent, and hopefully accept her as queen.
    Last edited by ryanmattes; 06-08-2021 at 12:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy memtb's Avatar
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    They’re SOL! memtb
    You should not use a rifle that will kill an animal when everything goes right; you should use one that will do the job when everything goes wrong." -Bob Hagel

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Bees that are being moved usually cannot get out of the hives. Hives being transported usually have enough supplies inside to last the colony weeks.

    Bees going to the wrong hive can happen due to 2 reasons.
    They are robber bees. Late in the year, bees will get into other hives and rob honey. It is a problem and they will be attacked by guard bees. The hive being attacked is usually weak for some reason.
    Sometimes when you have a lot of hives, a worker bee gets confused and enters the wrong hive. When a strange worker is challenged, if it reacts aggressively like a robber bee, it is attacked. If they are submissive, they will be allowed in and will eventually be accepted into the colony. <- learned this yesterday. Beekeepers will put different markings on the front of hives so that bees can better distinguish between hives so bees don't get lost. I have a big patch of ornamental grass in front of my hive that I must leave there otherwise they might get confused returning to the hive.

    The lifespan of a worker bee is something like 6 weeks IIRC.
    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

  5. #5
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    That wasn't a dumb question and I learned something interesting. Thanks.

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    Robin's and other birds love to feast on honey bees.
    so I hope those lost bee's provide a meal for some bird
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for all the responses. I kinda figured they were out of luck at that point. I'm surprised to learn they only live about 6 weeks.
    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommag View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I kinda figured they were out of luck at that point. I'm surprised to learn they only live about 6 weeks.
    Verify that one. They are not long lived though.
    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

  9. #9
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    GregLaROCHE's Avatar
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    This is an interesting post. I always learn new things on the forum.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
    Verify that one. They are not long lived though.
    Essentially right, the workers born during the spring and summer live 6-7 weeks. Those born in the fall won't have as much to do, and can live through the winter, as much as 4-6 months. The hive is essentially shut down when the temps drop too low, so they aren't wearing themselves out working.

    You can tell when they're wearing out because their wings start to get ragged.

    Queens can live 2-4 years, and drones average about 60 days. Drones either get worn out or killed during mating flights, or in the fall the colony will kick them out to starve because they don't do anything but eat.

    Pictured below is a worker with ragged wings.



    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommag View Post
    At a truckstop, while watching bees trying to figure out how to get into my trailer, a question came to my mind.
    Every year, bees are moved between California and the upper midwest. At every stop, many bees are left behind. What happens to the lost bees? Do they manage to be adopted into another hive, or are they just out of luck?
    maybe those bees were from a local hive trying to get something from your trailer that they were attracted to..bees will fly up to 3 miles from their hive

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I have heard from 2 to 8....
    I did find my bees at the bird bath yesterday getting water. We're moving one out to where their hive is located to make it easier on them.

    And yes. Worker bees work themselves to death.
    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

  13. #13
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    tommag - that was a good question that I'm sure a lot of us has wondered about at times - interesting!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
    I have heard from 2 to 8....
    I did find my bees at the bird bath yesterday getting water. We're moving one out to where their hive is located to make it easier on them.

    And yes. Worker bees work themselves to death.
    Put .03% salt in the water. The pools around here. that have salt chlorine generators are covered with bees. My bees will ignore the pond next to them and go to my neighbors pool.
    There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide. Ayn Rand

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    Boolit Bub PrestoColumbus's Avatar
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrestoColumbus View Post
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    Oh, where is the LIKE button?
    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

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